Sam Cooke, the son of Reverend Charles Cook, Sr., (a Baptist minister) and Annie May Cook was born January 22, 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1933. He had four brothers and three sisters – Willie, Charles Jr., L.C., David, Mary, Hattie and Agnes. Sam graduated from Wendell Phillips High School in 1948, where he distinguished himself as an “A” student as well as being voted “most likely to succeed.” During his formative years, Sam, together with his brothers Charles Jr., L.C. and sisters Mary and Hattie, performed as a gospel group “The Singing Children.” At the age of 15, Sam became lead singer of the famous “teenage” gospel group the “Highway QC’s” until he was 19 when he was hand-picked by Roy (S.R.) Crain, manager of the “Soul Stirrers,” to replace the legendary R.H. Harris as lead singer. In 1951, with the “Soul Stirrers,” he began his writing and recording career on Specialty Records with such gospel classics as “Nearer To Thee,” “Touch The Hem Of His Garment” and “Be With Me Jesus.” For six electrifying years he established a new standard for gospel expression. “It isn’t what you sing that is so important,” said Sam’s father, “but rather the fact that God gave you a good voice to use. He must want you to make people happy by singing, so go ahead and do so.” With these words of encouragement, he did just that. At the height of his fame in the gospel world and with the screams of believers raising him up and being raised by him, Sam left it all behind.

In June of 1957…

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Discography Highlights

YOU SEND ME Sam Cooke
Abkco Music, Inc.

TWISTING THE NIGHT AWAY Sam Cooke
Abkco Music, Inc.

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